Zimbabwe pull out of Twenty20

Dubai, August 20:

Zimbabwe finally withdrew from next year’s World Twenty20 tournament after recognizing that Britain would not grant visas to their team.

Seeking assurances from the International Cricket Council (IOC) in Dubai, Zimbabwe Cricket officials ended any lingering uncertainty by ratifying the compromise agreed last month which saw them retain full IOC status and participation fees.

There had been concerns that Zimbabwe Cricket’s board would not endorse the deal agreed by chairman Peter Chingoka at the ICC’s annual conference. “We are grateful to Zimbabwe Cricket for confirming the decision taken by their officials during annual conference week,” ICC president David Morgan said. “This allows the ICC the opportunity to plan with certainty the ICC World Twenty20 2009, as well as giving Scotland, the side set to step up in Zimbabwe’s place, plenty of preparation time ahead of the tournament.”

Zimbabwe pulled out because the British government would not grant visas in protest at Robert Mugabe’s victory in a widely discredited presidential election. The England and Wales Cricket Board has also cut ties with Zimbabwe.